The Moon is experiencing “moonquakes.” Some may be relatively large, threatening future exploration. This, added to the fact that the Moon has been shrinking for millions of years, could bring future risks.
Our Moon has been shrinking for hundreds of millions of years. It would be a problem for a possible site that NASA was considering for a future manned mission to the Moon. This area is believed to have water reservoirs that could support life. But the area was affected by seismic activity.
An area near the lunar south pole could be affected by this seismic activity or lunar earthquakes. Tom Watters is a scientist at the National Air and Space Museum (USA). He explains: “The Moon is not a geologically dead body. “It is seismically active.”
The Moon is shrinking, as is the Earth. In the last few hundred million years, the Earth shrank by about 45 meters in diameter. It is due to the natural cooling of its molten core, as well as the exertion of the Earth's tidal forces. As the interior of the Moon cools, its surface also contracts. This contraction process also gives rise to ridges known as thrust faults.
The study recorded one of the strongest earthquakes on record there. It is significant, because the Moon became the scene of an international space race. Especially since India's Chandrayaan-3 landing module made a successful lunar landing in August. Scientists believe that ice can be found in large craters in the south polar region of the Moon. It is permanently hidden in a cold shadow. And NASA plans to land its Artemis III mission in an area of this region.
Earthquakes on the Moon
Shallow moonquakes can affect the south polar region. Measurement and analysis of the current contraction of the Moon will need to be measured before planning the location of permanent outposts on the Moon.
«This is not about discouraging anyone from exploring the south pole of the Moon. “We want it to be understood that it is not a benign environment,” the researchers concluded.